Monday, June 16, 2008

Fun with satellite box guides

Yesterday, as part of TCM's Fathers' Day salute, they showed the appropriate movie Life Begins for Andy Hardy. However, when I turned on the TV just before the end of the movie to watch the next movie, I noticed that the satellite box guide claimed the 1932 movie Life Begins was on. I knew this wasn't the case, since I would have recommended Life Begins if it were airing. (Sadly, it's not available on DVD.)

It's not the first time that the box guide has mentioned the wrong movie. The easiest mistake would be when there is more than one movie with the same title. Remakes are common: the Fox Movie Channel recently showed the 1950s Betty Grable musical The Farmer Takes a Wife, while the box guide suggested the 1935 original, with Henry Fonda was going to air. There are also some titles that are the names of two completely different movies. I've made brief mention of the John Wayne movie Island In the Sky, but fifteen years earlier, Fox released a completely different, unrelated movie with the same title. Then, there's that new horror movie that FMC keep plugging, The Happening. Oh, did I reference the wrong movie?

Rarer, but probably more fun, are the errors with movies that have similar, but not alike, titles. Back on Martin Luther King Day, TCM showed Harry Belafonte's The World, The Flesh, and the Devil. The box guide, however, claimed TCM would be showing Flesh and the Devil, a completely different movie; a silent starring Greta Garbo. Oops.

Perhaps even more fun would be to try to imagine a composite of two similarly titled movies having different plots. Imagine the elegant, gentlemanly Fred Astaire dancing with a fallen Norma Shearer when you mix up The Divorcee with The Gay Divorcee. Sophia Loren's Italian World War II refugee would put the aformentioned Shearer and a bunch of other petty things to shame, if you mixed up Two Women with The Women. And perhaps Mrs. Danvers was so screwed up because she spent time with Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm before spending it with Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca. Spending time with the young Shirley Temple would drive me up a wall.

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